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BOOK REVIEW: The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2) by Brandon Sanderson

BOOK REVIEW: The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2) by Brandon SandersonThe Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2)
by Brandon Sanderson
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

They did the impossible, deposing the godlike being whose brutal rule had lasted a thousand years. Now Vin, the street urchin who has grown into the most powerful Mistborn in the land, and Elend Venture, the idealistic young nobleman who loves her, must build a healthy new society in the ashes of an empire.

They have barely begun when three separate armies attack. As the siege tightens, an ancient legend seems to offer a glimmer of hope. But even if it really exists, no one knows where to find the Well of Ascension or what manner of power it bestows.

It may just be that killing the Lord Ruler was the easy part. Surviving the aftermath of his fall is going to be the real challenge.

Vin frowned, then glanced at Elend. He seemed…distracted. “I don’t like her,” she said.
Elend smiled, stacking up the books on his table. “You don’t like anyone when you first meet them, Vin.”
“I liked you.”
“Thereby demonstrating that you are a terrible judge of character.”

Weeeellll peeps, it’s official. I am in love with Brandon Sanderson. It isn’t simply because he has some of the most unforgiving battle scenes ever, and it isn’t because his books make me laugh more than they probably should, though those are great big bonuses-humor in such a long story is so refreshing, don’t you think? No, I love Sanderson because, despite how many characters we have to follow throughout the whole story, he makes me fall in love with all of them. Not just the good guys or the middle guys or the sidekicks-I fall in love with those characters you can’t be sure are loyal or that are bound to betray you. I fall in love with each and every moment all these mismatched friends share. And, most importantly, I fall in love with the stories he weaves.

Ham turned back, still smiling. “You make it sound so desperate, El.”
Elend looked over at him. “The Assembly is a mess, a half-dozen warlords with superior armies are breathing down my neck, barely a month passes without someone sending assassins to kill me, and the woman I love is slowly driving me insane.”
Vin snorted at this last part.

Again, I get so nervous every time I pick up a fantasy novel. I repeat it so much that it has to be annoying, but I just am so picky about what I read-especially with fantasy. So, while I adored the last book (I gave it a 4), I still didn’t label it as a favorite. Why? Well, it’s simple-I was a tad overwhelmed. It’s a lot to take in when you never really read anything this long or complex. There was a lot to learn and a lot of people to keep track of-and, simply, I’m a newb. I don’t read this stuff often because I do like a simpler story-sue me. But, even with all the difficulty of the first, I found so many things to love and obsess over: Elend, for instance. Vin. Elend and Vin. They were absolutely precious together. And then there was Kelsier and Breeze and Spook. I loved them all. I loved the action and the bonding scenes-it was a stupendous story.

But in this book? Oh yeah. There was literally nothing I couldn’t handle. I knew it all, ya know?? So, instead of all that learning and world-building, we got a full-fledged story!! I was ecstatic. It started out with a bang-Vin in the mists doing what she does best. But even better than that??? Elend. Elend on every freaking page-if not physically, then spiritually when they would mention him and his plans for the kingdom. Did I mention my dear, dear Elend was King?? Well, he is. And that’s one of the best parts of this story-it’s so flawed!! Or, at least, the characters are.

“But you had others before her,” Spook said. “Noble girls.”
“A couple,” Elend admitted.
“Though Vin has a habit of killing off her competition,” Ham quipped.
Elend laughed. “Now, see, she only did that once. And I think Shan deserved it-she was, after all, trying to assassinate me at the time.” He looked down fondly, eyeing Vin. “Though, I do have to admit, Vin is a bit hard on other women. With her around, everybody else looks bland by comparison.”

Elend is still, as ever, in love with Vin. But he also has a kingdom to watch over and keep from being taken over. Such a huge task for someone who is so pure, so good. And here is the problem: Elend is so invested in making a fair government, he doesn’t see or, presumably, care. He wants to be good to his people. He doesn’t want to be a dictator like the Lord Ruler and oppress his people like that evil man did. But there’s a fine line, and we get to see his journey throughout the book on whether it’s worth becoming a man he doesn’t want to be so he can keep his crown or whether his wits and cunning can keep his kingdom safe-but possibly lose his rule for doing the right and fair thing.

“My dear man,” Breeze noted. “When you told us you needed to ‘go and gather a few important references,’ you might have warned us that you were planning to be gone for two full hours.”
“Yes, well,” Elend said, “I kind of lost track of time…”
“For two hours?”
Elend nodded sheepishly. “There were books involved.”

Elend is a character I could go on and on and on about. He’s sweet, kind, caring, and would do anything for Vin-and his kingdom. And that’s why he’s such an amazing and loyal character. He’s shy and unsure of himself, he doesn’t see how Vin could love a man like him when they are so different-And here is another plot I’ll mention later. But, with Vin by his side, he brings all the con-men into his inner circle and together they strategize and try to do what’s best for the kingdom….it’s quite hilarious to see all these completely different men try to figure out a cohesive way to mix all their ideas together.

“Do you know what I hate, kandra?” she whispered, falling to a crouch, checking her knives and metals.
“No, Mistress.”
She turned, meeting OreSeur’s eyes. “I hate being afraid.”

And then, Vin. Wonderful, un-trusting, insecure little Vin. She is their Mistborn now, so she watches over Elend and the welfare of the kingdom. She works herself to the bone because she knows if she slips up even once, Elend will be killed and it will be all her fault. Except it won’t…but she feels that way. And more often than not, lately, she has been experiencing doubts about her and Elend. He’s too good for her, he’d never be happy with someone so different….and she couldn’t be more wrong. He adores her and would never abandon her like everyone else in her life has before-but it doesn’t stop her from being terrified about such things, anyway. See the problem, though? They both are on that same path, worrying that they aren’t good (or good enough) for each other….let the misconceptions commence.

The study’s small ventilation window bumped open, and Vin squeezed through, pulling in a puff of mist behind her. She closed the window, then surveyed the room.
“More?” She asked incredulously. “You found more books?”
“Of course,” Elend said.
“How many of those things have people written?” she asked with exasperation.
Elend opened his mouth, then paused as he saw the twinkle in her eye. Finally, he just sighed. “You’re hopeless,” he said, turning back to his letters.

And now there are new threats to the city-someone, presumably another Mistborn, is following her. At every turn she senses a dark figure standing menacingly above her on the rooftops, but he never makes a move. And every time she tries to chase him, she loses him. There are worse things, though. Now the mists are spreading into the daytime, seeping out from the night. And, more than that, the mists are producing palpable shapes that resemble something…sinister. And Vin feels it. When she attacks one, it numbs her arm causing shock she never could have imagined…and to top it all off?? Two armies are waiting outside the gates ready to attack the city, steal the throne…..and execute Elend. Poor Vin. Oh!! And did I mention a spy has infiltrated their inner circle?? But there’s no way to know who….

So, to say this book was amazing and tremulous and action-packed would be an understatement-in fact, this book is an understatement. Let me explain-It all unfolds so beautifully, so simply. Every little plot twist builds and builds, both out in the mist with Vin and inside the inner circle with Elend. While it’s quiet and strategic with our dear King, things are hectic running around with Vin. Even when we could get bored, we don’t. Sanderson switches, and mixes, Elend and Vin’s problems so seamlessly that you can’t get bored. Or I didn’t, at least. And then it all comes to a head. It’s all that simple. We wait, we wait, we see, we see, and then mix the potion a little and BAM! We have a wonderful 5 star story!!

“And our differences?” Elend asked.
“At first glance, the key and the lock it fits may seem very different,” Sazed said. “Different in shape, different in function, different in design. The man who looks at them without knowledge of their true nature might think them opposites, for one is meant to open, and the other to keep closed. Yet, upon closer examination, he might see that without one, the other becomes useless. The wise man then sees that both lock and key were created for the same purpose.”

I didn’t skim. I wasn’t bored for even a moment. And this heartbreaking tale tore my heart out more than once. I cried so hard near the end it bordered on hysteria. I didn’t think ‘ol Sanderson had it in him, frankly. Betrayals and lies, friendship and love, we see this hodge-podge group fight their hardest battle yet-they just thought things were difficult with the Lord Ruler. I am so nervous for book three because there is no way I will come out of this without more than a few tears…but when that time comes, I’ll have to be strong. That’s all there is to it.

***************************

GOD DAMN IT, SANDERSON. THAT WAS NOT FUCKING FUNNY.


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Review to come

BOOK REVIEW: Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) by Brandon Sanderson

BOOK REVIEW: Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) by Brandon SandersonMistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1)
by Brandon Sanderson
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

In a world where ash falls from the sky, and mist dominates the night, an evil cloaks the land and stifles all life. The future of the empire rests on the shoulders of a troublemaker and his young apprentice. Together, can they fill the world with colour once more?
In Brandon Sanderson's intriguing tale of love, loss, despair and hope, a new kind of magic enters the stage - Allomancy, a magic of the metals.

Buddy read with my darling, Anna-She wrote her review in a gaming form…so fun!!! ♥

He forced himself to smile-not out of pleasure, and not out of satisfaction. He smiled despite the grief he felt at the deaths of his men; he smiled because that was what he did. That was how he proved to the Lord Ruler-and to himself-that he wasn’t beaten.
No, he wasn’t going to walk away. He wasn’t finished yet. Not by far.

Wellllll guys, I did it. I finished this amazingly awesome, exceedingly complex, and altogether EXTREMELY LONG novel. I can’t say I didn’t have to push myself-that would be false. But, the fact remains, I knew if I trudged ahead that there was epicness ahead…I just had to get there. I have been trying to break into high fantasy for FOREVER and just can’t seem to get over that hurdle. I may be able to goof around on Goodreads during the day sometimes at work (okay, I MAKE that time, sue me) but that doesn’t mean I’m not here every day during the week from 8-5. So, that means that it’s EXTREMELY difficult for me to read a book that is eons long with loads of world-building if it’s not on the weekend. For example: I started this book on Friday…..but I JUST BARELY finished at midnight last night, and that’s because I read THE WHOLE NIGHT AFTER WORK to jump that hurdle. I think that’s the main reason I’ve never been able to break into this genre…it just takes A LOT of time. But, for Brandon Sanderson, I’m so so happy I took that chance. I finally did it-and I enjoyed it. Immensely.

Plots behind plots, plans beyond plans.
There was always another secret.

I also won’t lie to you all (or whoever reads this) about how hard this was for me: It was very hard lol. Not because I am dimwitted or daft…I just have a very short attention span. Frankly, I have NEVER been a fan of plotting or organizing rebellions if they take more than a few chapters. I think this stems from my dislike for lengthy conversations and planning in books. It’s just. Too. Much. But, and I’ll probably say this one hundred more times before I die, if there is/are action, betrayals, fight-scenes, peril, LOVE-INTERESTS, flirting, battles-galore….I will MAKE myself enjoy those strategy scenes. I will MAKE myself push through those difficult and infuriating descriptions of lengthy world-building. I truly believe that the end justifies the means, and I WANT to be a part of this beautiful, vivid, and extremely well-crafted world. If I can just get past those scenes, I’m golden.

“The best liars are those who tell the truth most of the time.”

I must admit that having read Steelheart and Firefight from this author helped me along the way. I knew that, in the end, I would love what he did with this world and this story. I did trudge through because of that common familiarity that made me more comfortable in my own skin, impostor that I was. When I was apart of this book, it made me happy. Sanderson creates some truly imaginative worlds that make us all want to delve deeper and break through the barriers of their lies, secrets, and betrayals. He makes us want to be apart of the story and he takes us to a level where, for one peaceful moment, we are smiling and laughing at his jokes and the closeness of the people on those pages before us, and then tearing up and gasping in the next, if only because, not just a moment before, these friends were hanging out and having a good time and now two of them have ceased to exist. It’s madness, but it’s the kind of madness that makes you want MORE, makes you happy in spite of it’s cruelty. Sanderson is exactly the kind of author I have been looking for-he can do it all.

“Yes,” Kelsier said, “it’s probably best that you avoid Venture completely. Try to offend him or something. Give him a couple of those glares you do.”
Vin regarded Kelsier with a flat look.
“That’s the one!” Kelsier said with a laugh.

And here’s my favorite thing of all: I love the characters he creates. He makes me care about them on a visceral level, no matter their intentions. Even the villain I found myself connecting to. Is that weird? It feels weird to say that-but it’s true. I was so deeply attached to Vin, to Kelsier, to Elend….I loved them all. Dockson, Breeze, Spook….you name them, I most likely loved them for specific reasons. But, obviously, my most tried and true connections were to Vin, Kelsier and Elend. Vin was just so hard NOT to connect to. She felt unloved, unwanted, and she has always known people to leave her. No one has ever made her feel wanted or like they care about her, so seeing her turn into a badass was something to behold. Even more than that, though, it was so heart-warming to watch Kelsier coax her into their group, to finally help her feel like she belonged. I loved him and I loved what he stood for….even when everyone made him feel like he was a loon for trying to achieve something virtually impossible.

“True,” Elend said. “I do, however, recall telling you that the Ventures were an annoying lot. I’m just trying to live up to the description.”
“You’re the one that made up the description!”
“Convenient, that,” Elend said, smiling slightly as he read.
Vin sighed in frustration, scowling.
Elend peeked up over his book. “That’s a stunning dress. It’s almost as beautiful as you are.”

And, being the girl that I am, I do have to mention…OMG the romance was ADORABLE. I know I know….I’m like….the only person to mention romance in a review about this novel but UGH-


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COME OOOON it was SO cute to see Vin, the fierce little Mistborn, falling for a noble of all things! Who READS, no less! That shit is just too cute, sorry not sorry. Anywho…I HAD to mention that while my mind was completely satisfied by all the awesome battles and fight scenes, my heart was soaring, too. And I’ll just leave it at that, I think.

“My behavior is, nonetheless, deplorable. Unfortunately, I’m quite prone to such bouts of deplorability-take, for instance, my fondness for reading books at the dinner table. Excuse me for a moment; I’m going to go get something to drink.”
He stood, tucking the book into his pocket, and walked toward one of the room’s bar tables. Vin watched him go, both annoyed and bemused.

So, all in all, I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I am SO glad I finally picked this up and, frankly, I feel like I’ve made it loads easier to pick up the next one in the future. It’s like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I can finally just…breathe. I know that when I want to pick up the next I must simply slot in enough time for it and I better NOT have any other books on my mind for after. It effects my enjoyment of the book and makes me feel like pacing around my house because I just know I have to get that ARC done by a certain date and blah blah-it’s not good lol. So, despite how long it took me to read and how I might have had to push myself a little at times, I really did love this book. One of my GR friends, Robin, said in her review that at the end of the novel you felt like you were really a part of the world and that despite all you learned, Sanderson paced it so that you pretty much had a handle on everything (the magic) by the end of the story-and I agree. I feel like I learned SO MUCH….but I don’t feel bogged down, now. I feel great. I’m happy. And I’m ready for book two-I can’t wait.

BOOK REVIEW – Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) by Brandon Sanderson

BOOK REVIEW – Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) by Brandon SandersonMistborn : The Final Empire (Mistborn #1)
by Brandon Sanderson
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

In a world where ash falls from the sky, and mist dominates the night, an evil cloaks the land and stifles all life. The future of the empire rests on the shoulders of a troublemaker and his young apprentice. Together, can they fill the world with color once more?

In Brandon Sanderson's intriguing tale of love, loss, despair and hope, a new kind of magic enters the stage - Allomancy, a magic of the metals.

Because let’s face it, this book is basically a book version of a RPG game.

Thanks so much to my Indy Kitty Cat Chelsea and my French fellow Lucy for reading it with me. That was such a commitment 😉

Warning : if you think that my review is kind of useless, don’t worry, you’re probably right. However, as there is a large amount of great reviews out there, I’m not going to feel guilty about it.

Main Quest : Save the world of course, what do you think?

We have our regular high-fantasy here :
– a world ruled by a tyrant? ✔
– a magic system? ✔
– a master and his apprentice? ✔
– a quest to fulfill? ✔

Truth to be told, there’s so much to love I can completely understand why these books are so highly rated. Really. However, I feel the need to temper my enthusiasm. Yes, that’s a good plot. Now, is it incredible and never seen in high-fantasy? I don’t think so. That’s good, very good, but still, I’m waiting to be mind-blown, to get the overwhelming feelings that Robin Hobb’s books offer me. I don’t know. Of course I was wide-eyed and enthralled at some point, I can’t deny it. But still – perhaps I’m harsh, but I’m waiting for a better immersion in this world, as even if I find the concepts interesting, they’re aren’t fully developed in my opinion.

Now, the magic system and the world-building are basically a book version of a RPG game. How could I not love this, how? I mean, I was consciously thinking about the play control I would use to Push and Pull in a game (I think L2 Pull and L1 Push would be great). And the use of smoothing looks awfully like Speechcraft. Aka, for Morrowind noobs, the ability to intimidate/admire/taunt people we meet to get what we want.

Additional information : as in Morrowind, we can read books within the book which allow us to have a look at the world’s inhabitants beliefs sometimes, and it contributes to challenge the game book experience.

Can I have this game? Yeah?

Well, the map seems really large, but unfortunately we don’t get the opportunity to visit it, as we’re stuck in Luthader for the most part. That’s why I hope the extensions and other DLC sequel will let us fully discover this world.

Vin is a strong heroine who learns to like going to balls, and it makes her way more relatable than if she was only our regular magic fighter. What I appreciated the most was the fact she didn’t trust anyone at first and was still willing to learn what exactly friendship was. Now, her characterization isn’t that great, because she seems to succeed in everything she does. Of course I liked her – but let’s face it, until now, she’s special, she’s the One, she is our fantasy world savior. In any case, I must admit that I’m eager to see how her personality evolves in the sequel.

Kelsier is awesome in his anti-hero way, as there is no depth to which he will not sink to succeed their rebellion. Not a knight, a crewleader. Not a parangon of altruism, but selfish, and then, so more believable. As for the other members of his crew, they’ve all something to contribute to the story and I was pleased to see that the secondary characters’ characterization was not lacking of substance.

And there’s Elend. Well, I can’t even explain why I liked him from his first apparition. I just did. And even if I can rationalize my attraction in saying that he reads, that his comments are slightly sarcastic as I love my male-leads, that he’s an idealist who thinks that words are the most potent weapons, that he offered me my biggest laughter … I won’t lie to you, at first, there’s no reason why I love him. Except, somehow, I do. Go figure.

Since I read and loved Legion series by Sanderson, I had to be prepared but somehow you never really are, you know? I’m not going to state how perfect this book is because you know – it isn’t. However, the fact is, this book was just so damn entertaining. That’s true the pacing was slow at first, but then, that’s quite average for a high-fantasy book. I mean, hey, world-building people. By the way, I found it way faster paced from 35% to the end.

Would I recommend this book? Sure I would.

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